Definite articles

Definite articles (“the”) go in front of a specific object or person.

la piazza


le case
il cane 


lo spaghetto, zio

i bambini

gli amici, studenti

We use lo before words that start with s + consonant, x, y, z, gn, ps or pn.

Lo specchio, lo zaino, lo yogurt, lo psicologo.

The mirror, the backpack, the yogurt, the psychologist

We use gli before words that start with a vowel, s + consonant, x, y, z, gn, ps or pn.

Gli alberi, gli hotel, gli zii, gli spaghetti.

The trees, the hotels, the uncles, the spaghetti

La and lo are written with an apostrophe (l') when the following word starts with a vowel or an h (which is always silent at the start of a word).

L'ora, l’era.

The hour, the era.

L’hotel, l’inverno.

The hotel, the winter.

Note: gli is pronounced .

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